The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today tossed “political and legal questions” against what it described as “fake” comprehensive agrarian reform program (CARP).
“Extending the bogus CARP is legally and politically questionable,” says KMP chair Rafael Mariano.
Mariano said that the legal question is that “after the anti-peasant law expired on June30 last year, the CARP, the law that House Bill 4296 seeks to extend no longer exist. Ergo, there is no law to be extended.”
“At the same time, the proponents of the sham CARP claims that what expired last June 30 is only the ‘land acquisition and distribution’ provisions of CARP. This is an obvious political maneuver to retain the dead law’s provisions on exemption, exclusion, land conversion, retention, and other anti-farmer provisions,” Mariano said.
The peasant leader warned Congress of committing grave abuse of discretion once House Bill 4296.
“Extending a law that no longer exist is null and void and unconstitutional,” he said.
Mariano also assailed the “misinformation peddled” by Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat, House committee on agrarian reform chair, in saying that “the Makabayan bloc also opposed the measures because it was advocating the confiscation of land without compensation.”
“For the Nth time, what the Makabayan bloc advocates is the nationalization, expropriation, and free distribution of all agricultural lands through House Bill 252 or the genuine agrarian reform bill (GARB). Under GARB, confiscation is only applied to sullied landholdings, like Hacienda Luisita,” says Mariano, who is also a co-chairperson of the Makabayan coalition.
KMP maintained that “27 years of the sham CARP is enough. It is the longest and most expensive agrarian reform program in the world and is not meant to address the problem of landlessness and rural poverty.”
The CARP was enacted on June 10, 1988 during the administration of then President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. According to KMP, the law was crafted to exempt Hacienda Luisita and other vast haciendas in the country from land distribution.
“The CARP provided non-land transfer schemes, like the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme in Hacienda Luisita Tarlac, corporative scheme in Negros Occidental, leasehold operations, and leaseback arrangements, and other schemes of corporate venture arrangements, which exempted vast tracts of landholdings of big landlords and agro-corporations from actual and physical land distribution to farmer-beneficiaries. In addition, the establishment of Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) laid the ground for corporate intervention and control of agribusinesses over vast tracts of lands,” Mariano said.
“The continuing land monopoly and control of a few landlord family shows that the bogus CARP was not meant to break land monopoly and was instead implemented only to appease peasant unrest in the countryside and to create an illusion of land reform,” the KMP leader stressed.
Instead, the KMP pushed for the passage of GARB to break landlord control and monopoly of lands, the exact opposite of the bogus CARP.
“We are fully aware that the GARB faces an uphill battle in a landlord-controlled and dominated Congress. The GARB is a direct hit to the heart of big landlords class interests like that of the haciendero President,” Mariano stressed.
“Pero hindi kami titigil, aaraw-arawin ng mga magsasaka ang pagkilos at dadalhin sa mga magsasaka ang GARB,” Mariano vowed. #